Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee

6.16.2006

Aquifer could help solve Waukesha's water woes

The city of Waukesha is still dealing with a water shortage. Their drinking water is in violation of clean water standards since their water table has dropped nearly 500 feet in recent decades. This has resulted in high levels of radium in the drinking water leading planners to search for new sources of drinking water.

Planners in the county seem intent on self destruction based on news that a brand new shopping mall is being planned at Pabst Farms in western Waukesha County. The property contains an aquifer that nearly reaches surface level and is a ready source of radium-free water.

It's time for folks in Waukesha County to get their heads out of the sand and start thinking about the long term implications of this development, especially when a potential solution to a contaminated water problem is staring them in the face.

6 Comments:

At 6/17/2006 02:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are wrong on so many levels. Building a mall will arguably use less water than homes or many industries. Think about it – besides the fire sprinkler system (filled but never used), restrooms, and food operations – just how much water is going to be consumed per acre?

Malls don’t usually plant large acres of grass, so you don’t have the same watering considerations as households either. They have lots of parking areas and rainwater is diverted to holding ponds that can enter the groundwater system very efficiently too.

The other glaring problem with your conclusion is that building a mall on an aquifer does not render the aquifer useless.

Lastly, nobody can logically conclude that building homes and shopping malls where farmland once existed consumes more water. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Farms consume exponentially more water than neighborhoods, and evil shopping malls. This is especially true when these new developments are equipped with efficient, modern plumbing fixtures.

Why don’t you just honestly confront your concerns? You hate the idea of development in Waukesha County. You don’t like the fact that Milwaukee is losing population to Waukesha County and you see a new mall as a confirmation that this shift continues unabated.

 
At 6/17/2006 02:09:00 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Actually I was born and raised in Waukesha, and care greatly about the quality of life in the city and the surrounding area.

The city of Waukesha has problem with water contaminated with radium. They were hoping they could simply pipe water from Lake Michigan, but because they're beyond the subcontinental divide, that's not very likely to happen (especially since officials have stated they have no plans to return the wastewater to Lake Michigan).

If it were just the mall, that would be one thing. This development may still include a hospital and any number of other buildings that will consume the resources at this site.

My main point is that before Waukesha seeks an exception to a treaty on diverting great lakes water, they should look west to sites such as this one.

 
At 6/18/2006 12:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you sound remarkably like this guy: http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=437499

 
At 6/19/2006 10:18:00 PM, Blogger Dean said...

Although I do think Barrett (in the article linked above), I wonder about the leadership in Waukesha county also. Conservation is all they seem to talk about. Limiting developement has never been mentioned.

Although conservation measures should be undertaken, we know why no one wants to limit developement.

 
At 6/19/2006 10:51:00 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Waukesha County is going to continue to grow no doubt. What needs to happen is better planning in terms of where a given development is located, and the long term effects of it (both positive and negative) on the area.

This isn't something that's unique to Waukesha. Areas around the country (Detroit comes to mind) have done a much poorer job in planning in both the city and suburbs. We should learn from the failures elsewhere and try to avoid them.

 
At 6/22/2006 10:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the idea of better planning on the development of Waukesha County. Mukwonago is a good example of a small rural town being overdeveloped to a point of a water shortage. I read a small blurb about a year ago, that the DNR gave permission to the town of Mukwonago to drain the Vernon Marsh for fresh water. Why can't we be more proactive instead of reactive when it comes to our natural resources???

 

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